The 0.40€ stamp on the left was issued on Apr.16,2010 honoring DR. MILAN HODŽA (1878 Sučany –1944 Clearwater, USA),the most significant Slovak journalist, politician and political scientist, Czechoslovakian statesman of European importance of the first half of the 20th century.
A son of a Slovak patriot, Evangelical priest O. Hodža and a nephew of Michal Miloslav Hodža. He obtained his university education by studying law, philosophy and history at universities in Budapest, Cluj and in Vienna. He had wide knowledge and actively spoke seven languages. He entered the political scene as an already known journalist. He wrote for several newspapers, he founded and edited Slovenský denník (Slovak Daily) on his own, and later Slovenský týždenník (Slovak Weekly) (1903 – 1918). He continued in political and journalist work of Ľ. Štúr. In 1905 – 1910 he acted as a member of the Hungarian parliament, stood against Hungarian nationalism, fought for civil rights and economic progress in co-operation with representatives of non-Hungarian nations (mainly Serbians, Croatians and Romanians). He got into high politics thanks to his contacts with the throne successor Franz Ferdinand and his attempts to federalize the empire. During World War I he became the leading figure of the so-called Vienna Group of Slovaks who started to cooperate with the Czech Resistance with the aim to build a common state. He participated on the Declaration of the Slovak Nation in Turč. st. Martin in October 1918 and became a member of the Slovak National Council. After the formation of Czechoslovakia, he continued in his political activity with short breaks until September 1938 as one of prominent pro-governmental agrarian politicians. He was the Minister for Unification of laws twice, the Minister of Agriculture twice (1922 – 1926; 1932 – 1935); the Minister of Education (1926 – 1929) and the Minister of Foreign Affairs (1935 – 1936). In 1935 he became the Prime Minister as a first Slovak and remained in this position until September 1936, when the government resigned. At the end of 1938 he went to exile (Switzerland, France, Great Britain, and USA). In 1940 he founded the Slovak National Council in Paris. He spent the last years of his life in the USA (1941 – 1944), cooperated with American Slovaks on renewal of a democratic, nationally just Czecho-Slovakia, with equality of Slovaks and with a vision of a federation in Central Europe. He also worked here on his most significant political work called Federation in Central Europe, published in English in 1941. Historical and political studies and studies on political science were a part of his work. They were published in 7 volumes under the name Články, reči a štúdie. On June 27, 2002 his remains were transported to Slovakia and buried in the National Cemetery in Martin.
The other two 0.40€ stamps were both issued in 2010 in the Sights of Our Homeland series featuring Castle Betliar and Castle of Topoľčianky.
Originally a hunting castle, with its permanent specialized exhibition of Housing Culture of the Nobility in the 18th and 19th Century, the Castle Betliar has belonged to the administration of the Slovak National Museum – Museum Betliar since 1996. From the point of view of attractiveness, it belongs to the most visited ones and from the point of view of monument preservation, it belongs to the most preserved cultural historical monuments of Slovakia. It has been included into the network of Slovak museums since 1952. The origins of the castle history date back to the first half of the 15th century and they are connected with the Hungarian family of Bebek. František Bebek built a small fortification in the period of the approaching Turkish threat. The greatest construction for the castle was noted in the period of the Transylvanian-Hungarian noble family of Andrássy which played an important part not only in the life of Gemer but the entire Hungary. The castle experienced several reconstructions over some centuries. The biggest and most extensive was the reconstruction of 1880 – 1886 under the control of the count Emanuel Andrássy and the castle obtained its present look. Previous owners furnished the castle with luxury and gathered a lot of works of art and craft there creating a present-day precious artistic and historic collection fund of the museum. What is really valuable is the movables of the exhibit of domestic and foreign provenance dated in the 16th to 19th centuries. Interiors are supplemented with gallery collections, ceramics collections, china and porcelain from various European manufactures. The greatest treasure of the Betliar Castle is the historical library founded by the count Leopold Andrássy in the mid-18th century. It currently contains 15 000 volumes of historic literature. Around the Castle there is a large natural and landscape historic park with the area of 57 ha which belongs to the most preserved and most precious parks in Slovakia. The park was included by the international committee ICOMOS/IFLA (International Council on Monuments and Sites) into the list of artistically and culturally valuable parks of the world recorded by UNESCO in 1978. In 1988 – 1994 the Castle was reconstructed as far as building and interior. In 1994 it was awarded the prestigious international award EUROPA NOSTRA for its example monument conservation.
Picturesque scenery of a large English-style park with a monumental classicist chateau is situated in the northern part of the municipality Topoľčianky. Archaeological research was carried out in 1990 in the courtyard of the chateau and uncovered the foundations of the oldest stone architecture from the 13th century. Already in the mid-16h century Topoľčianky was in the reach of Turkish raids and as a result, it was burnt down many times and the fortification was damaged. Ján Topoľčiansky, a lord of the chateau, also known as “Turk Fighter”, had the chateau rebuilt on its original foundations The last major reconstruction of the renaissance chateau was made halfway through the 17th century by the Earl Ladislav Rákoczi, together with his wife Elisabeth Rákoczi, born Bánffy who had part of the chateau rebuilt into a chateau chapel in 1662 in the north-western bastion. Since 1686, the chapel has been a significant sacred site in Slovakia. Halfway through the 18th century the chateau and the entire estate were mastered by the Keglevich earls who owned it up to 1890. At the beginning of the 19th century, the third earl of the Keglevich family, Ján Keglevich, ordered the southern renaissance wing to be demolished and replaced it in 1818 – 1825 with a classicist tract built. This classicist wing of the chateau is considered to be the nicest and cleanest demonstration of classicism in Slovakia.
The last noble owner of the castle was the Archduke Joseph August Habsburg with his wife the Archduchess Augusta after 1890. This couple had lived in the castle until 1918 when the first Czechoslovak Republic was established. The castle was nationalized and became the summer residence of the Presidents of the Republic. The first President of the Czechoslovak Republic, T. G. Masaryk, visited Topoľčianky almost every year during his presidency. Klement Gottwald was the last president to stay in the pleasant environment of the Topoľčianky chateau. In 1957 the Castle came under the administration of ROH for the purpose of superior holiday and in 1970 it was declared to be the National cultural monument for its beauty, artistic and historic value.
At present the castle is owned by the Joint Property Fund of the Trade Unions in the Slovak Republic (JMF ZOO v SR). The classicistic wing is used as a museum. Three renaissance wings of the chateau are currently used as a hotel with a restaurant.